Joint ownership of land is common throughout Texas. Since relationships and situations can change, though, Texas law provides a way for joint owners to voluntarily divide the property. Let’s say, for example, that siblings are named co-owners of land that they inherited from their parents. Perhaps the arrangement works well until one sibling wants to build a house on the property, a goal the other siblings do not share. If these siblings are unable to come to an agreement about whether to build a house, the siblings may choose to divide the property by using a partition deed. The partition deed is the legal document that allows a property to be divided among co-owners, ending joint ownership of the property. A partition deed clearly indicates which portion of the property belongs to which person. Once in place, each person functions as an independent owner of the designated share of property and has fee simple ownership of their specific parcel of property.
Language of a Partition Deed
Outlined in Chapter 23 of the Texas Property Code, the partition deed includes grant clauses which designate exactly which portion of the property goes to each owner. Sample clauses follow:
"First Party shall have and possess in severalty the Share Number One Property, and Second Party, for the Consideration and subject to the Reservations from Share Number One Conveyance and the Exceptions to Share Number One Conveyance and Warranty, grants and conveys to First Party the Share Number One Property, together with all and singular the rights and appurtenances thereto in any way belonging, to have and to hold it to First Party and First Party's heirs, successors, and assigns forever."
"Second Party shall have and possess in severalty the Share Number Two Property, and First Party, for the Consideration and subject to the Reservations from Share Number Two Conveyance and the Exceptions to Share Number Two Conveyance and Warranty, grants and conveys to Second Party the Share Number Two Property, together with all and singular the rights and appurtenances thereto in any way belonging, to have and to hold it to Second Party and Second Party's heirs, successors, and assigns forever."
While the partition deed provides an efficient, equitable way to divide property, parties do not always agree to partition, or they challenge the process in court, often resulting to arduous and costly partition lawsuits. Working with a knowledgeable attorney will lead to the best possible outcome for everyone involved.
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